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2012 Twenty Questions Interviews : Shannon Ganshorn

20 Questions Interview with Shannon Ganshorn

Artist, Teacher, International Mixed Media Postcard Swap Organizer


Shannon Ganshorn

1. What's your name?

Shannon Lea Ganshorn.

2. Where are you from?

White Rock, BC, Canada.

3. Who are you today?

Today I'm a Secondary School teacher trying to keep my kids interested while it's sunny and warm outside. Later this afternoon I'll be a thrift store shopper in search of a round end table for a lounge area that I'm creating off my kitchen.

4. What do you do? (Elevator speech)

What don't I do...? I'm an artist, I teach French and art to teenagers, I'm a newlywed, I'm an avid gardener and I love to watch the ocean. I have a cruiser bike that becomes my main transportation in warmer weather, I struggle with overeating, I love to cook, and I have a seemingly innate passion for life!

5. What's your story (how did you get here)?

I've always been creative but only in my twenties did I begin to cultivate this aspect of my being. Once I finished high school and college, I began to discover more about myself and about the things that ignite my spirit. I began mixed media art on a large scale and after a few years moved into art journaling. This is where I am now, and I feel like I'm still just on the verge of entering this world!

6. Why is art important to you?

Art keeps me sane. It offers a portal into my inner workings. It is a form of meditation for me. Whether it is two hours or ten minutes, I feel refreshed and renewed after putting my energy into art.

7. When/how did you realize you had a creative dream or calling to fulfill?

When I finished College I realized that I had a higher calling in the sense that I was capable of bigger, more expressive things. I went to school for business, and I quickly discovered that the limitations of the business world wouldn't allow my soul to blossom as I wanted.

8. How did you embrace it?

I poured all of my extra money into art supplies and search my community for cheap surfaces to paint on. This resulted in some pretty cool art pieces and opened my eyes to the realm of mixed media. To me, the sky was the limit.

I gathered whatever art supplies I could get my hands on and repurposed pretty much anything I could into art materials. It was, and still is, a time of discovery and wonder! Everything that I see has an artistic value!

9. How did that feel?

Liberating yet overwhelming. I felt like a child seeing the world for the first time. It was amazing and scary and exciting all at the same time.

10. Where has your journey taken you?

I'm now a successful blogger. I organize the International Mixed Media Postcard Swap and have met other artists from all over the world. I feel that my community has grown to include other artists who inspire and guide me in my own art journey, and for this I am completely humbled as an artist. It's really amazing how individual each artist is, and I love the fact that every artist can learn from every other.

11. What challenges have you faced?

Initially I was shy to share my own work. I started the blog as a challenge to myself to diligently create art and share it on a daily basis. It has really become a labour of love. Another challenge was to surround myself with other artists. I was rarely able to converse with other artists and often felt stifled by complacency in my art.

Meeting others through the Postcard Swap led me to a group in a community close to my own (geographically) that meets once a month to share their work and to share new techniques. This group (The Sisters in Art Society — SAS) has quickly become a monthly afternoon that I yearn for and anticipate every month! Furthermore the conversations that emerge in group emails that follow each meeting keep us inspired and entertained in the weeks between meetings.

12. What worked for you?

Stepping outside of my comfort zone has done wonders for me. Starting my blog has opened up a world where I am inspired, surrounded and supported by other artists. Sharing my work, my processes, my techniques and my musings with my new friends and online community has allowed me to grow as a person and gain confidence in my creations.

13. What didn't work for you?

Worrying about selling my art. I am getting over an obsession with selling my art for money. I have indeed sold many pieces, but as soon as someone requests a new item, the inspiration and creative process disappears from me. I am learning to create art on my own terms and follow my own creative process instead of the replying on commissions to drive my creativity (which has become frustratingly difficult). If I earn money with my art, so be it, but my main goal of earning money though art is shifting to creating art in order to satiate my own needs and expression.

14. What three tips can you share with those starting on a similar path?

  1. If you're afraid to do something, force yourself to do it. This one is SO important! You can only learn from your experiences.
  2. Blogging is easy once you learn the interface. Take the time to put yourself out there!
  3. Don't underestimate the power of social media. As much as I hate to be surrounded by technology, I put time aside to nurture my online relationships and have found that this time is well rewarded by friendships and the success of my blog.

15. What are you working on now?

I am creating a lounge area off my kitchen that I aim to be reminiscent of a luxurious and eclectic Parisian café. I'm also working on creating some fabric covers for new art journals.

16. What's coming up for you in the next year?

We're planning to have a baby in the next couple of years, so I guess we should get on that! I'd also like to continue on the path that I've been following — connecting with other artists, developing my own art processes and creating things that I love.

17. What else do you desire/dream to do?

I would love to be an art journal workshop facilitator and mentor. I feel that art journaling is such a process! I would love a chance to help guide others into this process and nurture their art learning and own creative development. I also have a secret wish to create a major art conference similar to Artfest/Journalfest in or close to White Rock (which just happens to be a stone's throw away from both Seattle and Vancouver, BC, Canada.)

18. How will you make that happen?

I have experience as an events coordinator, and I feel that I could make this event quite successful. I don't feel, however, that I presently have the art connections and relationships that I would need to make this fly. Again, continuing on my path of networking in the art world and cultivating my own processes and techniques will pave the way for this dream to become a reality.

19. What question would you like to be asked (or are just itching to answer) that's not on this list?

What's one thing that you've recently discovered about yourself that surprises you?

I've recently begun to realize that I am impressive to other people. I've always been really shy and hesitant about my work and my creative processes, but lately I've been getting strangers approaching me online to discuss art and treating me like an equal. I feel like I'm really making it as an art creator and that my ideas and works are valuable to others. This is kind of an amazing feeling!

20. What's your blog address?

Musings On Realities: